The Goods

Recipe: Opera Tea Cake

Perfect for a brunch or bridal shower, Shahir’s version of an Opera Cake is infused with tea for a blast of aromatic flavour.

Perfect for a brunch or bridal shower, Shahir’s version of an Opera Cake is infused with tea for a blast of aromatic flavour. Make the cake layers ahead and freeze, then assemble the day before your party.

Ingredients

Chocolate cake (middle layer):

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup full fat sour cream
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup whole milk

Vanilla bean chai tea cake (top and bottom layers):

  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cardamom
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 bag black tea (English Breakfast or Orange Pekoe)
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Vanilla tea syrup:

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 bag black tea (English Breakfast or Orange Pekoe)
  • 1 scraped vanilla bean pod
  • Pinch of salt

Cream cheese icing:

  • 1 package (250 g) full fat cream cheese, room temperature
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 500g bag icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

Assembly:

  • 1 cup seedless raspberry jam
  • 1 pint raspberries

Preparation

Chocolate cake (middle layer):

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a quarter sheet pan with parchment paper and spray with non-stick cooking spray. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and baking soda, set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together sour cream, vegetable oil, egg, vanilla extract and milk.

Pour the wet ingredient bowl into the dry, and mix together with a spatula until combined. Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, rotating pan halfway through cooking time. Cool until room temperature and wrap until needed.

Vanilla bean chai tea cake (top and bottom layers):

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two quarter sheet pans with parchment paper and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Place the sugar in a large bowl and scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the sugar (save the pod for tea syrup). Add the rest of the spices and rub together with your hands, evenly distributing the spices through the sugar.

Cut open the tea bag and add the contents to the sugar. Add the flour, baking powder and salt to the sugar bowl, whisk together. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, vegetable oil and buttermilk. Pour the wet ingredient bowl into the dry, and mix together with a spatula until combined.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and spread evenly in the pans. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, rotating pans halfway through cooking time. Cool until room temperature and wrap until needed.

Vanilla tea syrup:

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan, bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 1 minute, remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Strain out vanilla bean and tea bag, store in refrigerator until needed.

Cream cheese icing:

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and butter with hand mixer until well blended. Add salt and gradually add in icing sugar, mixing until the icing is thick and creamy. Fit a piping bag with a star tip and fill with the cream cheese icing. Set aside until ready to assemble.

Assembly:

On a turned over baking sheet, place one layer of vanilla chai cake. Brush with cooled syrup. Spread with half of the raspberry jam, leaving a 1” border bare around the edges. Top with the layer of chocolate cake and repeat syrup and jam process. Top with final layer of vanilla chai cake.

Place a piece of parchment paper on top of cake, cover with plastic wrap, cover with a quarter sheet pan and weigh down with four cans of tomatoes. Chill cake for at least two hours or overnight. When ready to serve, remove weights from cake and unwrap.

Using a long knife, slice cake into 16 even rectangles, making sure to wipe the knife off in between each cut. Pipe a rosette of cream cheese icing on top of each slice, and top with a raspberry. Arrange on a serving platter and enjoy!

Servings: Makes 16 mini cakes

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